The 10 Best Lightweight Laptops to Buy in 2018

Ultrabooks: fulfill all your computer's needs without the added bulk and weight

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The Rundown

  • Best Overall: ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 at Amazon, “Running Windows 10, this ultrabook is a great alternative to a MacBook, striking the perfect balance between performance and portability.”
  • Best Budget: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 at Amazon, “The Chromebook is a reliable laptop that won’t break the bank.”
  • Best Value: Huawei MateBook X Pro at Amazon, “You’ll get an impressively clean experience right out of the box."
  • Best for Durability: ASUS Zenbook S at Amazon, “Built to military specifications for durability and includes Amazon Alexa integration for voice control.”
  • Best for Gaming: Lenovo Y520 Gaming Laptop at Amazon, “Expect the powerful performance you need to play the latest titles.”
  • Best for Business: HP Spectre x360 at Amazon, “HP’s latest Ultrabook features a micro-edge touch screen and a long-lasting, fast-charging battery for business.”
  • Best for Students: Yoga 720 at Amazon, “The lightweight device can be used as a traditional laptop for taking notes, as well as a stand for watching movies in the dorm room.”
  • Best Design: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 at Amazon, “Featuring a lovely, sleek design that easily rivals the MacBook Air.”
  • Best Large Screen: LG gram 15Z970 15.6” at Amazon, “Besides the thin lightweight design and gorgeous 15.6” IPS screen, the laptop has a powerful 7th generation i5 Intel processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54

At 12.7 x 8.7 x .5 inches and 2.68 pounds, the ZenBook UX330 is one of the most portable laptops on the market today. It has a 13.3-inch, 1080p display that produces vibrant colors and promises wide viewing angles of up to 178 degrees. Its touchpad incorporates a convenient fingerprint sensor that enables a fast and secure log-in.

Thanks to an Intel Core 2.5GHz i5-7200U processor and a 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) with 8GB DDR3 RAM, it boots up in seconds and handles photo and video editing software with ease. Unlike the ZenBook UX305UA, the UX330UA has a backlit keyboard that makes typing on the ergonomic keyboard a comfortable experience even in dim settings. You’d think that would add to battery drain, but with over 10 hours of battery life, the UX330UA keeps you working on long flights. Running Windows 10, this ultrabook is a great alternative to a MacBook, striking the perfect balance between performance and portability.

Check out our other reviews of the best laptops available on the market today.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 packs a 13.3” display in a laptop the size of a typical 11” notebook, which makes for a computer that’s both compact and lightweight. Whether you’re at work or playing, the 2.7-pound XPS 13 has more than enough horsepower to get you through the day.

Our model of choice includes an Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, up to 11 hours of battery life and Windows 10. That option is priced several hundred dollars cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Air. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a QHD+ display, but still offers the non-touch InfinityEdge border which remains stunning no matter your configuration. With a comfortable keyboard to type on, precise trackpad, huge range of configurations and a design that’s unrivaled, the Dell XPS 13 is fantastic.

Best Budget: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

When it comes to budget-friendly laptops, HD resolution is often the first thing to be eliminated. Not so with the ASUS Chromebook Flip. You can still enjoy all your favorite videos in picture-perfect 1080p on the 12.5-inch anti-glare screen. This Chromebook is a definitely lightweight at only 2.65 pounds and can easily transform from a laptop into a tablet with its flexible 360-degree hinge. The interface and controls are very user-friendly — the touch screen is very responsive, the touchpad is appealingly oversized, and the backlit keyboard provides 1.4mm of key travel for comfortable typing.

The Chromebook Flip C302 contains an Intel Pentium 4405Y processor with 64GB storage and 4GB of RAM to provide fast and reliable performance (even on a budget). You also receive 100GB of additional storage on Google Drive. Despite its slim design, this laptop also provides an adequate amount of port space: USB 3.1 and Type-C ports, a micro SD slot, and a standard audio jack. The battery life lasts about 10 hours per charge. While some may find that 4GB of storage to be a bit on the small side, the Chromebook is a reliable laptop that won’t break the bank.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best laptops under $500

Best Value: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei is central to a tech revolution right now: overseas brands taking the market by storm with no-frills devices that give you a ton of bang for your buck. Now, before you go arguing that this is a premium laptop due to the price tag, it’s important to note that it offers features that are nearly on-par with the MacBook Pro for well under the price. The MateBook X Pro, like a few other laptops, has fallen in the interim between the Intel i5 and i7, and while the latter will give you a performance bump, for price and value we recommend the i5. (The i5 is an 8th gen processor with plenty of power, and paired with 8GB of RAM and a solid-state 256 GB drive in this machine, the power and speed afforded you will be great.)

But the real calling card here is the nearly bezel-less, touchscreen FullView Display, featuring a super-crisp 3K resolution and a 91% screen-to-body ratio. There are quad speakers, quad microphones, and a pop-out 1MP webcam for high-quality video calls, plus an all-day battery to keep you going through the whole work day. And with the built-in Windows 10 Signature edition (that has been stripped of bloatware and optimized for the MateBook), you’ll get an impressively clean experience right out of the box.

Best for Durability: Asus ZenBook S

Equal parts rugged and portable, this 13.3-inch, all-metal laptop weighs barely over two pounds and, thanks to a 50Wh lithium-polymer battery, can last for 13.5 hours. At just 0.5-inches thick, the Asus Zenbook S contains either the i5-825OU or an i7-855OU CPU, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and three USB-C ports. The ErgoLift hinge allows the keyboard to tilt by 5.5 inches for more comfortable typing and increased airflow beneath the chassis.

Multiple display options are available, including a 4K glossy touchscreen and an HD non-touchscreen, all of which are enclosed by barely-there 5.9mm-thick NanoEdge bezels. However, in a bid for lightness, the machine only packs Intel’s integrated UHD 620 graphics, though 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD options are available. The ZenBook S is not the cheapest option on the market, but was built to military specifications for durability and includes Amazon Alexa integration for voice control.

Best for Gaming: Lenovo Y520 Gaming Laptop

Once upon a time, gaming laptops weighed well over 10 pounds and could barely be considered portable. This Lenovo Y520 Gaming Laptop makes that a memory of the past, weighing just over five pounds to clock in as one of the lightest gaming laptops on the market. The slim and portable PC is just 1.02” thick and features a sleek black exterior and red backlit keyboard. Expect the powerful performance you need to play the latest titles with Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor and 8GB DDR RAM. A NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10450 graphics card delivers stunning picture while optimized thermal engineering keeps the laptop cool in heated situations. Expect cinematic audio experience from 2 x 2WW Harman speakers and Dolby Audio Premium. The laptop also offers 1.7mm of key travel and accurate responsive keystrokes, nearly silent in case you are gaming late at night and don’t want to disturb a roommate.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best gaming laptops.

Best for Business: HP Spectre x360

HP’s latest Ultrabook features a micro-edge touch screen and a long-lasting, fast-charging battery for business on long flights or interactive presentations in the boardroom. Power through anything with the newest 8th Gen Intel Core i7-855OU, an immensely powerful processor with up to 4 GHz processor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. The power is all confined in a sleek and impossibly slim body that functions as a 2-in-1 with a 13.3 inch diagonal Full HD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass for durability. An HP Active Stylus allows for drawing and easy note taking, while a HP TrueVision FHD IR Camera with Dual-array digital microphone gives you the peace of mind to enter important video conferences. Finally, the battery can go for an impressive 17 hours without needing a charge, with quick charging when it is time to reload.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best business laptops

Best for Students: Yoga 720

Lenovo - Yoga 720
Courtesy of BestBuy.com

Students in search of a flexible work environment should consider the Yoga 720, a 2-in-1 ultrabook with a 360-degree flip-and-fold design that offers four unique laptop modes. The lightweight device can be used as a traditional laptop for taking notes in a lecture hall, a tablet for bus rides, a tent for presentations, as well as a stand for watching movies in the dorm room. All of this versatility clocks in at just 2.9 pounds and is .6” thin, making for an ultraportable device that won’t weigh down your backpack. It is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250 processor and 8GB DDR4 RAM, which will allow you to play games or work on graphic design programs, depending if you’re in the mood for leisure or business. Other nice features include a backlit keyboard, a built-in 720 HD webcam, three USB ports and a 10-point multitouch screen.

Best Design: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

The Microsoft Surface 2 features a lovely, sleek design that easily rivals the MacBook Air. Like its Surface predecessor, its dimensions are 12.13 x 8.79 x 0.96 inches and it weighs 2.76 pounds. The 13.5-inch display also features full HD resolution with 201 pixels-per-inch, delivering crisp, vivid colors and deep shadows. The Surface 2 comes in four fashionable tone-on-tone color combinations: black, platinum, cobalt blue, and burgundy.

For the Surface 2, Microsoft boasts faster processing speeds than its predecessor. Also, one of the laptops main draws is the option to customize your own specs. In its most baseline configuration, it offers an 8th-generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state storage. Microsoft also includes descriptions for each of these specs to help buyers determine which combination best fits their needs.

We’ve really only found two downsides with the Surface 2. The first is the battery life: while Microsoft promises 14.5 hours of use on a single charge, many users report that the laptop tends to last for closer to 5.5 hours with a normal level of use. The second issue is the outdated ports: The Surface 2 has a Type-A USB input but doesn’t include a standard 3.1 USB port. If you’re planning to use this laptop more like a mobile workstation, then this probably isn’t a huge problem, but it is strange to see such an outdated spec on an otherwise top-quality product.

Best Large Screen: LG gram 15Z970 15.6”

 

LG released a powerhouse of an ultrabook that is winning accolades for being one of the lightest and slimmest 15” screens. The specs are sure to impress, as the laptop tries to be the best gram for gram on the market. It weighs a featherweight 2.5 pounds, thanks to a sleek metal alloy body from advanced nano carbon and magnesium for a durable, but ultra-lightweight case that is less than .7” thick. Meanwhile, the thin bezel doesn’t distract from the gorgeous IPS screen that gives more viewing area and exquisite style.

Besides the thin lightweight design and gorgeous 15.6” IPS screen, the laptop has a powerful 7th generation i5 Intel processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. The battery keeps going for over 15 hours of power, while DTS Headphone: X delivers expansive 11.1 channels of audio for a revelatory listening experience.

Check out our guide to the best 17-inch and larger laptops you can buy today.